To say this is a hidden gem is a major understatement. Not a sign that there even is any type of business on Ryder St off Solano Ave. If you don’t catch them at exactly the right time, it would appear they are closed.
“We don’t advertise”, said the owner who has been making baked goods and sandwiches with her daughter for over 13 years. They don’t need to. The phone is always ringing with orders and regulars make a steady stream from 11 am to 2 pm.
They know to sit patiently for their sandwich on fresh baked bread. Phone orders are given the exact time the order will be filled. It is a two person operation.
Bread is only sold retail on Thursday afternoon from about 1pm until closing at 2pm.
I only stopped by for a menu on Thursday by chance. The odds of me ever being there during that one hour window again are as close to zero as possible without actually being zero. It was fate and a sign from the food gods. I bought one of each type of loaf.
The bread selection depends on what the owner feels like baking. This week it was Texas corn bread, rye and sourdough. They are sliced on request. All are a soft type of loaf with a thin crisp crust that softens in the plastic bags.
The corn bread was sandwich bread, not the crumbly pan bread. It was golden in color and deliciously infused with jalapeno taste and aroma. Don’t miss this if available. Sometimes there is cheese in it, but the owners are vegetarians and also try to accommodate people who don’t eat dairy, so this week the bread just had jalapeno.
The rye was full of caraway goodness. The sourdough reminded me more of an Italian loaf, but was still nice. Loaves cost $4 - $4.25.
The cookies are a standout here, and only 85 cents for a large cookie about the size of what Bakesale Betty makes.
These are soft cookies and it is that wonderful texture that amazes me as well as the flavor. The cranberry was delicious and the peanut butter classic.
Banana cupcakes were full of banana flavor with a nice white icing. They have a homey look and taste.
There’s a lunch special. Buy a sandwich or lunch salad, a cold drink and chips or petite side salad and receive a free cookie or cupcake.
I selected “The Solano” … hand-made baked salmon patty with special spread, avocado & lettuce on my choice of beer walnut bread ($8.50 and the most expensive on the menu)
This is a plump salmon croquette made with canned salmon and some nice herbs. The special spread had a jalapeno kick. The beer bread studded with tasty walnuts was so the right choice adding a nice contrast of texture.
The salads are dressed with oil to avoid dairy. The pretty pink pasta salad was tasty.
The house-made lemonade is tart and tangy. They also make an excellent iced tea or a half and half of tea/lemonade. Drinks are $1. Other drinks include shakes & malts (vanilla, chocolate strawberry), a root beer float, and coffee cabaret … vanilla ice cream with espresso.
Though I’m not into veggie burgers, I would definitely try the hand-made baked brown and roasted veggie patty or the hand-made baked falafel patty because of the satisfying salmon patty.
Most of the sandwiches are based on various combos of roasted veggies, avocado, pesto, red onion, cheese, sauerkraut, thin deli-sliced fresh roasted turkey. pastrami (a relative makes it), salami, bacon (regular or soy), sun-dried tomato spread, ham, egg, chicken breast, tuna and jalapenos.
They are really into Reubens … veggie or regular
- Danny’s Almost Rueben: roasted eggplant, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Swiss grilled on rye
- Turkey Reuben: Turkey breast with house Russian dressing, Swiss and sauerkraut
- Ham Reuben: Same as turkey but with ham
- Horton’s Regulator Reuben: Turkey & eggplant Reuben
Big Mike’s Reuben “Hackney” Style: Pastrami with house Russian dressing, Swiss, jalapenos and sauerkraut
The menu specifies no substitutions please and they pretty much mean it. During the lunch hours the ladies are in constant motion. One newcomer (not me) was getting a ‘talk’ about how they made an exception this time but they really would rather not make substitutions. Given all the sandwiches named after people, I get the feeling that the menu grew to avoid substitutions. Someone wanted some variation and it was added to the menu.
It is not unfriendly, it is just this is a no nonsense type of place. It is sort of like Auntie Em opened a sandwich shop in Kansas. As time permits the ladies keep up with the town comings and goings with the regulars. Some people run a tab till payday it seems.
The interior is very homey with a mix of art and old-time kitchen gadgets. The back wall looks like something by Jackson Pollock, but the rest of the shop has antique stoves, old egg beaters and kitchenware, ceramic knick knacks, old gumball machines, a pinball machine, a few plants and eight mis-matched tables and chairs.
Theirs is a six seat counter where you can watch the sandwiches being assembled. Everything is sliced and ready to go. There are two toasters, a sandwich press and a microwave to heat the patties.
Three neatly folded local newspapers are on the counter and without it being said, you know enough to refold them neatly when you are done reading.
This isn’t gourmet. The peanut butter sandwiches are made with Skippy peanut butter and Smucker’s Concord grape jelly. Clover honey is one of the sweeteners. The tables have bottles of Giant Value Louisiana hot sauce.
However, it is ordinary at its best. It is the small town sandwich shop at its finest.
Closed Saturday & Sunday. Weekdays 9am – 2pm. Sandwiches 11 am – 2 pm only.Look for a sign saying M.F Maher, Inc. Depending on the direction you are driving if you pass if you pass Vallejo Bldg Materials / Millie’s J & M Bait shop, either you just passed it or it is the next street.
Dillon Bread Co
451 Ryder St, Vallejo, CA 94590